Tag: Honors Memories (page 3 of 4)

“A Chat with My Munson” by Hayley Whiting

As a newly accepted UD Honors student, one of the first people to reach out to me was my Munson Fellow, Ellen Schenk, a sophomore from Simsbury, Connecticut. I remember getting an e-mail from her at the beginning of August and felt comforted that there was someone I could go to for advice as I made the transition to college. Now that I have gotten to know Ellen, I am thankful for her support, kindness, advice, and commitment to bettering our Honors community. To honor Redding’s Munson Fellows, here are seven questions with Ellen, my very own Munson Fellow!


Q: How would you describe your role as a Munson Fellow?

A: I am an academic peer mentor and the liaison between the Honors Program and the students living in Redding. But I’m also … there if you guys need anything or someone to talk to. I also build an inclusive floor community.


Q: Why did you become a Munson Fellow, and what inspired you to get more involved in the Honors Program?

A: The reason why I came to UD was because of the Honors Program. I loved the idea of a big university with research, good professors, career services, and just all of the amenities of a big university. But the Honors program makes that community a lot smaller … I just want to support the program … and just get more involved in it because I love it.


Q: What is your favorite thing about being a Munson Fellow?

A: The students! I like giving advice and figuring out what I didn’t know freshman year and … trying to make your freshman year as enjoyable as mine was.


Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a Munson Fellow?

A: I really like seeing … events that I … put a lot of hard work into planning just come to life and seeing students enjoying them … For me, living in Redding was such an important part of my freshman year, so it’s really rewarding to be able to be a part of that and to be able to contribute to community building.


Q: For people who are interested in the position, how can they work towards becoming a Munson Fellow?

A: The most important thing if someone does want to become a Munson Fellow is getting involved on your floor and being able to show that you personally have built a floor community. Also having a passion for the Honors program, wanting to better students’ lives because freshman year is scary, and showing that you are able to be there and that you are able to support freshmen.


Q: What is your advice for freshmen as we close out the first semester?

A: Keep your door open. I think everyone has kind of formed their friend groups, but it’s also important to remember that … building a floor community is still really important, and it’s important that those goals that we all set for ourselves as a floor continue even through second semester.


Q: Finally, as a Munson Fellow, what would you like residents to know?

A: Munsons are a really good resource, but we’re also here to go to dinner with you guys and to come to your events that you plan and to support you in whatever you’re doing, so we’re pretty cool people to hang out with, and we just want to get to know you guys better. I think it’s kind of like a two-way street; we get to know you, but also you get to know us, and that helps build a floor community and a building community as well.


Ellen and all the Munson Fellows play an integral role in Honors students’ first year. From planning fun events to calming registration nerves to just chatting with us, they are here to talk with us, support us, and strengthen our community. My thanks to the magnificent Munsons of Redding for all they do!


We’re Halfway There!

I can’t believe how quickly college is going. It seems like just yesterday that I was unloading my car outside of Russell B and strategically choosing which side of the z-shaped room to pick. I can still remember my first day of college when my entire floor went outside to play awkward ice-breakers on the Harrington Beach. We were the epitome of UD freshman….we wore blue lanyards around our necks, seemed hopelessly lost on campus, and did not stray from Russell Dining hall for at least a semester. It is incredible to look back and see how much we have grown up over the past two years.

Now that I am well into junior year, I am starting to think about internships, opportunities, and…dare I say it…the real world! I was reminded of the fact that my class is halfway done with college when I attended the General Honors Award ceremony this past weekend. The Honors Program rewarded all of the juniors that are halfway done with their honors degree. We all received a certificate on-stage and afterwards stayed for a short reception.

When the ceremony began, I was the first person in the entire class to receive my certificate (curse alphabetical order). Oh, and did I mention I am extremely clumsy? One time I fell off the chorus risers as I was walking to sing a solo version of Amazing Grace…it was the polar opposite of graceful. So at the ceremony when I was getting ready to receive my certificate, I was praying that I wouldn’t trip while walking up the stairs to shake hands with the Dean of my college. Luckily, I successfully completely the journey across the stage and back to my seat. The tune of “I’m Almost There” from the Princess and the Frog played faintly in my head. Yes, only I would make a Disney Princess reference about getting my Honors Award.

One of the best parts of the day was that we received formal recognition after our two years of course-work. Another great part was that the whole ceremony was a huge Russell reunion. I got to see so many people from my freshman floor, hear about their accomplishments, and celebrate our achievements together. We have come so far…but we still have a long way to go. It only makes me more excited to see what the next two years will hold!

Reuniting with some of the freshman floor!

Reuniting with some of the freshman floor!

~Amanda Abrom

An Ode to Judy

Dear Judy,

You probably don’t know me, but I am one of your biggest fans.

I was a freshman in the fall of 2012. I came to college spoiled, overtly privileged in terms of caffeine. You see, in my house, there is always a fresh pot of coffee on the counter, prepared by some java fairy (my mother).

I was lost those first few weeks of school, unsatisfied with the taste of the hot brown “coffee” they served in Russell Dining Hall, and appalled by the miniscule amount of joe that my roommate’s Keurig generated.

Then one morning, I had an epiphany. My first class of the day was in Purnell. Which meant that I passed right by Perkins. Which contained a Dunkin Donuts. Which served coffee. You were there that morning. You took my order and said to me, ever so sweetly, “Anything else, hun?”

Morning coffee with you became a routine. In the beginning, it was a small iced French vanilla with cream. Later it was a medium hot pumpkin coffee with skim. Some days there were celebratory chocolate chip muffins. Some days there were sympathy-seeking extra large iced coffees with cream and sugar. Some days there were homesick donuts. But for every purchase, you were there, referring to me as “hun” and providing me with the most appreciated form of liquid found on college campuses.

I don’t often make it to Perkins anymore, and after realizing that pumpkin coffee contained 180 calories without milk, I try to stick to the traditional varieties. But whenever I see a student walking down the green with a Styrofoam cup in hand, I think of you and the moments we shared in the Scrounge. You completed my freshman year, and I know you’ll continue to encourage the studies and caffeine addictions of the newest Honors students.

Best of luck to you, and please continue calling everyone “hun”.

Yours truly,
Erin Dugan


I specifically remember listening to National Public Radio when I was seven. It was the first dose of purely American news I ever fully digested. We had lived on a military base in Stuttgart Germany for the past three years. Military orders and a few moving trucks brought us to south Texas, a place that served patriotism super-sized. Audibly famous radio reporter Don Gonyea explained the items on the menu. It was NPR talk that made me realize my mother was incredibly different from her military wife counterparts, a unique inhabitant of one of the reddest states in the nation. “Liberal” and “primary” were words I sprinkled into family dinners before I knew their precise definitions. Morning Edition played when I got ready for school, Car Talk was always on after my soccer games, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me made my dad laugh.

[Later on that year?] When I was in the second grade, my mom purchased John Mayer’s first album, Room For Squares. The tracks of that album became the background music of my early years on earth. If it wasn’t filling our Volvo, it was emanating from our home stereo system. If it wasn’t available for play, it was hovering on the surface of my mother’s lips and vocal chords. She thought he was a genius. “Have you heard ‘No Such Thing’? This is a kid who was a total nerd in high school and look at where he is now.” By the age of eight, I knew every word to every song on the album. Heavier Things dropped in 2003. In my mind, it was the work of a musical god. I went so far as to debate one of my carpool drivers on the merits of the track “Split Screen Sadness”. Mrs. Scheffler found it too poppy, while I found it catchy and a unique departure from his previous work. I was a third grader. By the time Continuum came out, I was a fan of unparalleled devotion. I considered “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” to be the greatest song of all time.

I started watching Friends when I was ten, a consequence of the Dugan household’s very first television and antenna. We had a grand total of ten public channels. One played episodes every weekday night from 9:00 to 9:30 pm. My mother made this discovery before I did. And despite the fact that most of the references were over my head and that it was a relatively late hour for television, she let me watch. When she felt guilty about some sexually explicit comment that no doubt confused me, her signature phrase was “Remember, this is just a show. Real life isn’t like this.” But I hoped that it was. I wanted to live in a well-decorated New York apartment with a crazy neighbor and a crew whose lives were so entertaining that national audiences found themselves laughing.

Some of the time, I find myself acting as a cultural nomad. My iTunes contains both dirty rap and bluegrass, my closet holds studded black tank tops and cashmere cardigans, my bookshelves hold works by JK Rowling and Ralph Ellison. But more often, I find myself referencing NPR stories, scrolling through artists on my iPod until I reach John Mayer, and quoting Friends. I know them well. I can identify reporters by their voice alone, I know every word to every song, and I consider myself one of the gang.

My preferences aren’t something I give much thought to. They so heavily involve my past, something I rarely consciously reconnect with. I prefer to think of myself as living fully in the present, so on top of everything that I am already planning for the future. In my mind, nostalgia is for the weak, and so I convince myself that I am repressing it, that I don’t experience it. Music gets me from one point to another and the news makes me an informed citizen and television keeps me entertained. I like to think of my tastes as dynamic, current and automatic, growing up just as I do. But they aren’t.

The most significant aspects of my personal preferences involve comfort. I associate Robert Seagull with weekend family pancake breakfasts. The conversation topics of the Central Perk Cafe made me laugh with my mother and the first friend I made in Catholic middle school. John Mayer released Battle Studies when I was in a huge fight with my friends and Born and Raised 12 days after the sudden death of my godfather. My life has been a series of transitions, changes, instability, the pillars of a Navy brat. Constants were and are rarities. And while the news of NPR can be biased, the humor of Friends is juvenile, and the music of John Mayer is vanilla, I don’t have to try to like it or understand it. It is worn in. It is safe.

Change of Plans


Throughout my senior year of high school, I couldn’t wait to see where I would end up spending the next four years of my life. After touring a multitude of campuses I was so eager to just get the process over with so I could finally move to the school that I was destined to attend: Boston University.


Obviously fate had something else in store for me because I’m not in the historic city of Boston with all its glory, but in humble Newark, Delaware. When I pictured myself at college I didn’t even consider a green, suburban campus that isn’t located in the heart of a major city. I saw myself bustling to class amongst “hipsters” and filmmakers and photographers and not actually waiting for the walk sign to legally cross the street.


Financially, Delaware was the best choice for me so I thought I’d give it a try. Everyone I know from high school who attends UD loves it, so it couldn’t be that bad. However when I first moved into Russell last year, I couldn’t really find my niche and I wasn’t loving my major so I actually thought of transferring schools.


One day during winter break I was scrolling through my photo albums and realized that I was laughing in almost every picture. I’ve made incredible memories with kids that I’d only known for a few months and realized that I’m not going to find relationships like that anywhere else. College isn’t about the name of a school or the image a school gives you, it’s about what you make of your experience and opportunities in any situation you’re put in. My impatient self didn’t realize that all the qualities I was looking for in a college were directly in front of my face the entire time.


The moral of the story is that we find happiness where we least expect it. It’s not always about the big picture, but it’s the little things like laughing with your roommate about her sleep-talking or admiring how beautiful the sunset looks from the window of your dorm that make you appreciate the place that you live. Looking back I feel crazy to have ever thought of leaving this university that I’m proud to call my home. To all you new Blue Hens out there: if you don’t absolutely love it here at first, give it a semester. I can almost guarantee that you’ll fall in love with everything about this campus just like I did.

Yet another striking sunset at a UD football game

Yet another striking sunset at a UD football game

~Ashley Bostwick


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